Almost 300 relatives of MH17 victims are claiming compensation from the suspects who are being prosecuted for shooting down the plane. Today, the surviving relatives’ team of lawyers explained the claims in the court at Schiphol, where the MH17 trial is being conducted.
In total, 290 surviving relatives request compensation, which consists of a fixed amount of 40,000 to 50,000 euros per victim. “We want to prevent long discussions about the suffering that has been caused to them”, attorney Arlette Schijns explains the fixed amounts. “No compensation is proportional to their loss, but it can provide a sense of recognition.”
Only parents, children and immediate family members of the victims are legally allowed to make a claim. This is painful for the group of some 250 siblings, who were not part of the victim’s family at the time of the disaster.
“We have seen how much grief this denial of their suffering causes,” said attorney Schijns. “They often had a close relationship with the victims. Not only do they face the loss of their own loved one, but they also face additional responsibilities, such as caring for their deceased sibling’s children.”
The lawyers of the accused Pulatov believe that the demand for grief money should be kept outside the MH17 case. They argue for a separate procedure in the civil court.
The Dutch criminal lawyers say they do not have enough expertise to deal with the complicated legal rules for compensation. “We cannot determine what, if any, we should argue in defense and what should be disputed,” said lawyer Sabine ten Doesschate.
The lawyers think that the process will be much delayed if they still have to pronounce on the grief money.
Surviving relatives of MH17 want grief money from suspects
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